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Covid-19 Guidance & Useful Resources

(Updated 6 April 2021)

Scottish Government Guidance

View the latest Coronavirus (COVID-19): daily data for Scotland here and the latest Coronavirus (COVID-19): Stay at Home Guidance for Scotland here.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): timetable for easing restrictions

The following timetable sets out how and when the Scottish Government plan to lift the current coronavirus restrictions over the coming weeks and months.

UK Government Guidance

Click here to view the latest COVID-19 Business Readiness Bulletin (1 April 2021)

All guidance, information and announcements can be found at GOV.UK. Organisations should pay particular attention to the guidance for employees, employers and businesses which is being updated regularly with the latest advice.

Financial Business Support

Job Retention Scheme

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended until 30 September 2021. From 1 July 2021, the level of grant will be reduced each month and employers will be asked to contribute towards the cost of furloughed employees’ wages. New information on claim periods from May 2021 added. For further information click here.

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

If you're self-employed or a member of a partnership and have been affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, you can apply for a taxable grant equal to 80% of your average monthly trading profits. Details are now available for the fourth and fifth grants. For further information click here. Coronavirus (COVID-19): general guidance for safer workplaces Guidance on safer working during the coronavirus pandemic for businesses and organisations not covered by sectoral guidance, for example general offices. Sections on vaccination and door-to-door service were updated on 9 March. For further information click here.

Recovery Loan Scheme

This scheme ensures that businesses of any size can continue to access loans and other kinds of finance up to £10 million per business once the existing COVID-19 loan schemes close. The scheme launches on 6 April 2021 until 31 December 2021. For further information click here.

Coronavirus Business Support finder

UK Government has also announced new support measures for businesses. Full details available on the UK Gov website here.

Practicing as an Architect

Building Standards - Continuation of special measures in relation to COVID-19

Kevin Stewart MSP, Minister for Local Government and Housing, has issued letters to Local Authority Chief Executives, on the continuation of special measures in relation to COVID-19 for:

(click the links below to view each letter)

extending the duration and refusal of building warrants
erection of temporary structures for the hospitality sector
the use of remote verification by verifiers

Architects Registration Board. The ARB has some updated guidance for those on the Register practicing during the pandemic.

Unite launches comprehensive Covid-19 construction guide

Unite, the UK’s construction union, has launched a comprehensive construction guide to help ensure the safety of construction workers during the Covid-19 pandemic. The guide titled Construction Sector: Covid-19 Guide is specifically aimed at Unite’s construction representatives but can be utilised by all workers. The document is especially relevant as there have been rising cases of Covid-19 on construction sites, thought to be a result of the worsening weather and a subsequent lack of social distancing. Further details here.

CICV Forum - Workplace Signage & Resources

The Construction Industry Coronavirus (CICV) Forum. have a pack of free practical signage and other useful guidance to help with the safe working environments. Designed for sites, depots and offices, the documents include essential posters, checklists and factsheets for on and off-site use, outlining how to manage the restart while keeping staff safe.

Contract Administration For guidance on the implications of Coronavirus on Contract Administration please read the guidance in our Practice Note. (For the duration of the Covid 19 crisis, the RIAS is releasing selected complimentary Practice Notes to assist all members. Practice Notes are normally only available to Practice Services subscribers).

Making your workplace COVID-secure The Health and Safety Executive has useful Coronavirus specific risk assessment guidance available here.

Remote Site Inspections

The obligations of architects undertaking inspection duties is set out at some length in Practice Note FI191 Inspection Duties of an Architect available from the Practice Services area of the RIAS website. Amongst other things it notes that where issuing certificates under the main forms of contract, the architect must be reasonably satisfied that any work that is included in an interim certificate is properly executed and any such site materials are of the contractual standard. Inevitably that means inspecting key elements of the work. Some of these may be partially obscured, or in difficult to reach locations. Rigour is required.

The Scottish Government’s Building Standards Division (BSD) has published advice for local authority building control departments on procedures for remote site inspections during the current health crisis. The RIAS is part of the BSD Building Standards Resilience Liaison Group and been involved in these discussions.

BSD’s guidance is quite clear: remote verification inspections will supplement, rather than replace, physical inspections primarily during the current Covid-19 affected period. The RIAS supports this recommendation – it is difficult to envisage any current digital recording system that will replace the level of detail obtained when on-site.

Members may be likewise considering remote inspections during this period, especially if they are within a shielded or vulnerable group. The advice in FI191 will be of particular relevance to them, as it makes clear that the benchmark for certification is necessarily high. The Practice Committee is investigating such issues further with other stakeholders but in the meantime would recommend considerable caution for those looking at such a route. If health issues limit the personal ability of an architect to undertake their duties in accordance with the terms of appointment then, as a minimum, they should be advising their clients and setting out alternative measures (such as other staff members or temporary input from other professionals) to ensure that they continue to meet their contractual obligations.

Employee and Employer Guidance

Expenses and benefits provided to employees during coronavirus

Find out about taxable expenses and benefits when they are paid to employees because of coronavirus and how to report them to HMRC (Updated 23 March).

Updated advice on talking with your workers about preventing coronavirus

HSE has updated their guidance to help you have conversations with your workforce about providing support and keeping control measures in place.

HSE has also published a range of coronavirus-related guidance and information to help you keep your workplace COVID-secure.

Marsh FAQ - Coronavirus Testing and Vaccinations

Practices may find the following FAQ on Coronavirus Testing and Vaccinations of interest. To view click here.

ACAS Guidance The ACAS website has a wide range of guidance and resources including furlough advice and letter templates, information on home working, sick pay and working from home.

Working remotely with colleagues and clients The RIBA have published a useful article for practices setting up remote working, making suggestions of what smaller practices can easily implement.

Mental Health Support

Architect Benevolent Society Support Through Architects Benevolent Society's partnership with Anxiety UK they can provide quick access to a range of mental health support including counselling which can take place over the phone, by email or Skype. They can also offer financial support in the case of redundancy or illness. Full information is available on the ABS website.

RIBA - Looking after your mental health and wellbeing RIBA have a range of resources for members including practical guidance and ideas to help boost mental health and wellbeing. Available here.